Leisure Suit Larry sleazes his way onto iOS

The Kickstarter-funded reboot of the famous graphic adventure is now available for iPhone and iPad. An Android version should follow soon.

Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded for iOS looks nice, but it feels cramped on an iPhone.
Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded for iOS looks nice, but it feels cramped on an iPhone. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

I grew up playing Sierra On-Line's graphic adventure games: King's Quest, Space Quest, and especially Leisure Suit Larry, which to my teenage tastes offered the perfect blend of sophomoric humor and sexy-time pursuits.

Proof positive that old games never die, they just get updated and ported to new platforms, Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded debuted last month for Windows, Mac, and Linux. And now the lounge lizard's reboot has come to iOS (with an Android version imminent).

First, a little history: The new game was announced back in 2011, but got a major boost in 2012 with a successful Kickstarter campaign; around 14,000 backers pledged well over half a million dollars. It certainly helped that original series creator Al Lowe, along with several other Sierra ex-pats, were onboard to bring Reloaded to life.

However, just as Duke Nukem couldn't seem to survive the transition to the 21st century, Larry debuted on desktops to some very mixed reviews -- including a 4.0 rating from GameSpot. So how does he fare on smaller screens?

Nearly 30 App Store reviews peg this as a 5-star game, the only dissenters being those few who couldn't get it to run on certain devices. (Curiously, it's not currently compatible with any iPod Touch models.)

After playing it myself for about 30 minutes, I couldn't help feeling...underwhelmed. For starters, the game feels incredibly cramped on an iPhone; that's too small a screen to really enjoy the artwork, which is colorful and cartoonish and appropriate for the content. It's definitely better on an iPad.

Mostly, though, it reminded me how dull graphic adventures can be. I think I appreciated them more in my youth, when there were far fewer alternatives and I had enough free time to really chew through the puzzles.

Here, however, I spent a bunch of time in the first scene (a bar) looking at things, listening to endless dialogue and descriptions, and not really knowing if I was making any progress. Indeed, what were my immediate goals (other than to "find love" or at least "get lucky")? I needed a solid objective to keep my interest. Was I supposed to merely chat up the cute girl at the bar? Try for something more? Win big at the video-slots machine? After a while, I just got bored and gave up.

Of course, I had work to get done. With a little more time to spare, I'll go back to the game and see if it can rekindle my interest.

In the meantime, if you're feeling nostalgic and willing to spend $4.99 for a modernized trip down memory lane, hit the comments and let me know what you think of the new Larry.

 

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